Let’s be honest. A short list of things to love about New York City is so insufficient that it borders on inappropriate. However, after much discussion and hand wringing, we’ve come up with the top five reasons that we are continually drawn to the Empire City, where we find ourselves again, this time traveling to attend the 2013 New York City Wine and Food Festival (NYCW&FF). While we will be busy eating our way around the city, we are carving out time to enjoy several of our favorite things. Here is what we are most looking forward to:

Green Spaces

We recognize the dichotomy of traveling to one of the world’s preeminent urban locations to enjoy the great outdoors. But once you’ve experienced NYC’s green spaces, you’ll get it. While Central Park – “the lungs of the city” – tends to suck up all the air, there are some other parks that are, in and of themselves, reason to make a trip to the city. We suggest making it to Washington Square Park (treat yourself to a Shake Shack burger for your efforts) or pop over to Brooklyn to explore the massive Prospect Park.

New York City as seen from the High Line

Our favorite green space is the relatively new High Line, a one-mile stretch of train trestle transformed into an elevated park. We make it a point to choose a nearby hotel in order to walk the length of the park, which takes you from Chelsea to the West Side Yard, many times during every visit.

Great Runs

In a city known for world-class cuisine (we will get to that), it is good to know there are some fantastic running routes. Of course, you can cover miles on foot in Central Park and never retrace your steps. But one of our very favorite runs is the jog along the East River bank and across the Brooklyn Bridge – a run that affords remarkable views of the NYC skyline. Speaking of views, the run along Hudson River Park/Esplanade to Battery Park treats you to views of the Statue of Liberty. We find that if we imagine that Lady Liberty is holding an Olympic torch, we run just a little faster.

Diversity

One of the things that we find most impressive about NYC is the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and lifestyles. There are few places in the world that represent such a melting pot. This is a city where you can easily stroll from Chinatown to Little Italy. You can visit the Central Synagogue, Trinity Church, and the Islamic Cultural Center of New York all in one afternoon. Or stop by the Stonewall Inn and within just a few minutes on the subway, be at the historic Apollo Theater.

Theater

Blue Moon Burger Bash – photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

We are huge proponents for the arts and especially the transformative power of theater. We are also musical theater geeks. So NYC is pretty much a dream come true for us. We always try to catch at least one Broadway show when we visit the city. We also try to remember that there is a whole world of theater beyond the Great White Way. Regardless of the venue, we always leave grateful for the experience and usually feel “changed for good” (fans of Wicked know what we are talkin’ ‘bout).

Food

When it comes to food, NYC is in a league of its own (from two guys who live in the foodie heaven that is Seattle, that is saying something). For a city that is home to many of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, we find the food scene to be very accessible. We especially appreciate how much upscale comfort food is available in the Big Apple. We plan to devour a lot of that during our upcoming visit.

“The NYCWFF is a PEOPLE’s Festival. This is for food and drink loving people from all walks of life with something for everyone: from giant walk around tastings, to intimate dinners, to wine and spirits focused events, this is the KING of food fests.” -Michael Lomonaco, Burger Bash competitor and the genius behind Porter House and Center Bar.

Our time in NYC will be framed by the NYCW&FF events. The festival is a four-day culinary dream and a charity event with 100% of the net proceeds benefitting the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength. Because of our love of ordinary food that’s elevated, we’re most excited about attending the Blue Moon Burger Bash. What can be better than several top chefs vying for attendees’ “best burger” votes? We’re also looking forward to other events – Tacos and Tequila and Sunday Slices – at the festival’s freshly minted Culinary Campus.

NYCW&FF is a yearly event, held in October. If you’re a foodie, be sure to consider visiting over the festival weekend.

What do you love about New York City?